In the ABC of advertising, the c should stand for curiosity.
The more you learn, the more you know, the better experience you have with your product, the better you can sell it. Common sense really.
But it’s amazing how many times agencies are asked to sell a product based on nothing more than a dry documentation, when really they need to touch, taste, feel, and use the product for themselves. That’s the quickest, most sure-fire way to find the fizz, that will drive a truly compelling concept.
Quite simply the best brief you can give is a ‘test-drive’. And that’s why at Cherry Tiger we always try to get right up close to the work our clients are doing.
It’s one of great the privileges of the job to visit a country like Senegal to see how microcredit works in action, to meet real doctors and dentists struggling to make the NHS work, or, as I did this weekend, to spend time on an RSPB nature reserve, where few others are allowed to tread.
Working on a brief to promote Coquet Island on the Northumbrian coast, happily coincided with a trip to see the North-East branch of the family. So instead of the usual Sunday morning dog walk, we found ourselves bouncing over the chilly North Sea in a thrilling five-minute speedboat ride out to this wonderful seabird sanctuary.
In the company of the inspiring RSPB Warden, Paul Morrison, we discovered how this tiny island protects thousands of breeding seabirds each summer, including the UK’s rarest; the timid and vulnerable Roseate tern.
A mine of information and insight, Paul’s passion for the island spills out of him, so when it comes to asking RSPB supporters to become friends of the island with a regular gift, all I have to do is adopt Pauls endlessly engaging tone of voice.
And then there’s those little nuggets. The gems of interest that make the story sing.
Who knew for instance, that Paul can scare off predatory gulls with a special ring-tone he can call from behind his binoculars on the mainland? The mobile attached to a loudspeaker and powered by a solar panel is an ingenious 21st-century version of a scarecrow, that even Worzel Gummidge would be proud of.
Here’s another. To keep themselves occupied the volunteer wardens on the island like to play petanque on a summers evening. But happily, the dents their heavy metal boule make in the soft turf of Coquet Island are the perfect shape for a ground-nesting tern to make their nest in. Even at play, the wardens help the seabirds make themselves at home.
Without visiting the island, I might never have really appreciated the vast array of work the wardens do for their summer visitors. I’d never have heard the soft rolling waves that make this island feel so remote from the nearby shore. I’d never have smelled the bitter salt on the chilling breeze, that these hardworking warden battle through each winter day. I’d never have imagined what life must have been like for the Victorian lighthouse man and his five daughters, as they fought to raise their crops below the cold stone of their meagre dwellings.
Ok, getting a bit lyrical there. But you see. That’s what experience does. It inspires our creative to even greater heights. So to all our clients both old and new we say, please tell us a little less and show us a little more.